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Cost of painting a house per square foot

Cost of painting a house per square foot

Painting is a great way to spruce up a house, be it a first-time purchase or one you already live in. However, a new paint job can be expensive. 

According to Homeadvisor, it could cost you anywhere between $1,747 and $4,168 to give your home a new look. Painting the interior of your house will cost you approximately $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot.  

The average cost of painting the exterior of a house is $2,580. Research shows that most homeowners spend approximately $1,715 and $3,676 on painting. An exterior paint job may cost anywhere from $800 to $5,400 depending on labor, size of the property, the type of paint used, and the property’s condition.  

The size of a house is the main factor affecting the cost of painting a house. It costs more to paint the exterior of a 6000 square-foot home than that of a 1,500 square-foot home. The price only goes higher if the house is older or has multiple stories. 

This article will assess the painting costs of a house per square foot.

How much does it cost to paint a house exterior per square foot? 

To estimate the cost of painting a home, measure the house’s exterior square footage and multiply it by the height of the house: from the ground to the roof. Deduct the space covered by the windows, window trims, and doors that you will not paint. This will give you the approximate square footage that you need to paint.  

A gallon of paint covers about 250 to 400 square feet, so you will need to divide the total approximate paintable area by this to determine how much paint you will need.  

You may need more paint on the house’s exterior is made of rough or porous material. Similarly, you will need more paint to paint a lighter color over a dark color. Transitioning from a dark to a much lighter color will increase costs as it requires an expensive tinted primer.  

 It costs $2,500 to paint a 1,100 square-foot home and $3,057 to paint a slightly larger 1,500 square-foot home. To paint such a house, you may have to part with anywhere between $1,771 and $4,347.  

The painting cost per square foot for exterior walls ranges between $1.50 and $4. This cost may vary due to factors such as the accessibility of the property. Other factors include the readiness of the property and the complexity of the job.  

The cost may increase if a lot of prep work is required to clean the exterior or if there is any damage or rot that must be fixed before painting. 

Painting by yourself vs. hiring a professional  

With enough time on your hands, you could decide to paint your house yourself. Painting yourself could be a viable option if your home is single-story. You may have to spend $500 to $1000 on the paint and $300 on other materials and equipment.  

There is an assumption that painting yourself is cheaper than hiring a professional, but this may not always be true because a non-professional may make costly mistakes.  

Additionally, a professional may have an easier time working with irregular shapes, extensive damage, multiple floors, and complex architectural features. This means that a professional will get the job done in a much shorter time.  

Though painting by yourself will save you on labor costs, you are likely to spend more time on the project. Hiring a professional takes this stress off you, saves you time, and helps avoid unnecessary risks, especially in houses with multiple stories. 

Ultimately, hiring a professional is more expensive than painting by yourself (assuming you have the right expertise. Spending $500 to $1000 is significantly lower than the average professional painting cost of $2955.  

material paint

Different exterior material paint costs  

Painting the exterior of a house can cost anywhere from $0.50 to $5 based on the exterior material of the house. This is because different materials require a different number of coats, quantities of paint, and prep work. Textured materials are more costly to paint than smoother materials.


Painting vinyl costs $1.50 per square foot, ranging from $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. This is comparatively cheaper than replacing vinyl. If the vinyl is in relatively good condition, it makes more sense to paint over it.  


The average cost of painting wood exteriors is $2 per square foot, ranging from $1 to $3 per square foot. The price of painting wood is relatively high because wood is prone to rot and moisture problems and thus requires more prep work. However, wood is relatively easy to work with.  


The average cost of painting brick exteriors is approximately $3.30 per square foot, ranging from $2.40 to $4.20 per square foot. Painting a brick exterior is costly due to the rough texture, which causes it to consume more paint. Brick exteriors also require more paint than other exteriors because a higher quality of paint is needed to get a  smooth finish


Painting metal exteriors such as aluminum exteriors costs $3 per square foot, ranging from $1 to $5 per square foot. An aluminum exterior requires minimal prep work and fewer coats than other materials. The aluminum exterior needs regular maintenance to protect it from degradation by the elements.  


Painting concrete exteriors cost $1.90 per square foot, ranging from $1.20 to $2.70 per square foot. The actual cost may be higher than the estimate because concrete is porous and requires priming and stripping. Concrete also requires additional coats of paint.  


Painting a stucco exterior costs $2.70 per square foot, ranging from $1.50 to $4 per square foot. It is highly complicated and time-consuming, and it may be more economical to replace the stucco instead.  

Different house style paint costs 

Height increases painting costs because it increases the total paintable area. Painting a two-story house can cost up to 50% more than a single-story house. A two-story house includes covering more space, but it also involves spending more time adjusting ladders and scaffolding.  


A single-story house spanning 1,000 feet may cost approximately $1,500 to paint. These houses are relatively easy to paint and have fewer hard-to-reach areas than houses with more than one story. 


A two-story house may cost at least $4,000 to paint. This is more than 50% higher than the cost of painting a single-story house. Two-storied houses consume more time because they have more hard-to-reach areas making prep work and actual painting harder.  


Three-story houses are costly to paint because they have more paintable areas, and some areas may be hard to reach. The cost of painting the exterior of a three-story house can range from $4,500 to $10,000. This cost depends on the amount of work involved and the type of paint used.  

factors affect painting

What factors affect painting cost?  

There are numerous factors affecting the painting cost. These include the size of the property, condition of the property, type of paint used, and labor.  


Labor can cost approximately $1 to $2 per square foot, including priming and painting. If priming is not needed, this cost can reduce by up to 50%. An additional $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot may be required if the house requires prep work.  

Type of paint 

Exterior paint costs between $20 and $80, depending on the quality of the paint. Therefore, the total cost of painting a house depends on what type of paint works best for the specific exterior. 

Condition of property 

The older a house is, the higher the cost of painting. This is because a house in relatively good condition will need less prep work (stripping).  

Professional painters charge different rates for stripping paint depending on where you live. For instance, stripping a house in Victoria could cost you up to $40 per hour. 


Geographical location may influence the cost of painting because some areas are cheaper than others. Painting in areas such as Los Angeles may cost $2,900 to $6,200, while prices in Deltona are only half as much. 


Painting a house’s exterior is a hassle-free way to enhance its appearance. However, like any other construction activity, painting can be expensive if not well thought out. The cost of painting an exterior will vary depending on the labor, size, condition, and location of the house.  

Additionally, the cost of painting differs from material to material. The most common exterior materials are vinyl, wood, brick, metal (such as aluminum), concrete, and stucco; these have varying painting costs. The exterior material is an essential consideration due to texture and the prep work.